Do Private Investigators Need Insurance? A Complete Guide
If you’ve recently started your own practice, you may have found yourself wondering, “Do private investigators need insurance?” Check out this guide to learn more.
Given that one of the most common reasons people hire a PI is to catch criminals, things can get heated quickly for private investigators. If you’re thinking, “Do private investigators need insurance?”, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
Private investigators do dangerous work that requires that they’re covered from every angle.
Here are the 6 most important types of coverage they need.
1. General Liability Coverage
A private investigator, above all else, should have general liability coverage for their job. The most basic coverage allows you to ensure you don’t have any hurdles to being covered as you meet the demands of the job.
Private investigators do dangerous work. They chase people down, hide in uncomfortable areas, and risk doing damage to other people’s property in the interim. While you’re driving slowly past a person who you’re following, you could take out another person’s parked vehicle, mailbox, or bump into a building.
You never know what the demands of your investigation will be. You could end up following someone into building you’re not familiar with and accidentally damaging something. Since you did this in the course of doing your job, you’ll be covered by general liability coverage.
2. Coverage For Your Property
If you have your own office, you should have coverage to protect it from any damage done. An upset client or someone who you investigated could take retribution out on your office. If they graffiti your garage or throw a brick at your window, property coverage could help you with that.
You should also get property coverage for your building to protect it from any other kind of damage. Even just a random tree falling on your building could cost a fair amount of money. Property coverage will make sure you’re not losing out on your profits because of a storm or a neighbor who doesn’t tend their foliage.
3. Auto Liability
If you’re using a vehicle in your work, having auto liability is a must. Whether the vehicle is a company car or your own, it’s essential to make sure that the vehicle is covered in case of an incident.
If someone hits you and wrecks your car in the middle of an assignment where you need your car to follow someone, your insurance can cover a loaner. If you accidentally strike a car while chasing someone you’re investigating, auto liability will make sure that you’re covered.
This is especially important if you accidentally injure someone with your car or strike someone who is crossing the street. It’s easy to get distracted during a private investigation. One moment looking away from the street could change your life and someone else’s.
Having liability insurance could make all the difference for both of you.
4. Workers Compensation
It’s not uncommon for small business owners, even those who have no employees, to pay for workers compensation insurance. You may find that you’re even required to have this kind of coverage.
Similar to general liability, this can cover you when you’re injured, specifically if it’s on the job. While each state will have different requirements, this is typically a good coverage plan to have. If you have to contract someone out for a week and they get injured, you need to know that you have some kind of coverage.
Job-related illnesses can happy too and knock you out of commission for a few days. Because you can’t afford for any of this to happen, make sure you have workers compensation coverage for your private investigation office, no matter what the size.
5. Invasion of Privacy Coverage
Part of the job of a private investigator is to be a little bit nosy. You could easily be accused of an invasion of privacy just for doing your job.
Invasion of privacy coverage ensures that you can do your job, unencumbered by worries about being sued. Sometimes, you or an employee might need to pull out a pair of binoculars to see if the person they’re following is in the building they thought they were in. While this might be a little bit nosy, following the person you’re being paid to follow isn’t an invasion of privacy, just basic surveillance.
So long as you’re not tapping anyone’s phone or hacking into anyone’s email, reporting the public spaces where you see someone isn’t illegal.
6. Assault and Battery Coverage
Things can quickly get heated while doing private investigation work. If you’re following someone who might be doing something shady, they might try to physically intimidate or even threaten you. If they take a swing, you might be forced into protecting yourself.
If you’ve been trained to disarm and to neutralize the threat of an attacker, you could be accused of assault. When someone is coming at you with a weapon and you spray them with pepper spray, they may try to accuse of your assault and battery. Having coverage, along with your license as a private investigator, should protect you when law enforcement takes your statements.
Assault and battery coverage could keep your practice from ending up in some long and slow process of going through a trial when you need to keep working.
Stop Wondering “Do Private Investigators Need Insurance”
If you’re still asking, “Do private investigators need insurance?”, the answer is no longer whether they need it but what kind they need. Insurance is pricey and complicated, but you should hire an agent who can help you to navigate the many options you have. You’ll need a fully loaded package, but that doesn’t mean you should spend an arm and a leg to get it.
For more ideas on what could make your private investigation practice successful, check out our guide for tips.